Excerpt of : The Concept of the Corporation
By Peter F. Drucker
Peter F. Drucker wrote The Concept of the Corporation one year after the end of WWII. In 1964 he added an epilogue where he emphasizes the importance of decentralization for any type of overgrown and overextended organizations namely; corporations, mutual funds, unions and governments. It appears that his warning about the dangers of “bigness” and of “little Napoleons” is as important today as it was back then.
Peter F. Drucker uses the word tycoon(s) to describe what today is referred as billionaire(s). During the first half of the 20th century the first man to become a billionaire was John D. Rockefeller, whose foundation is still involved in implementing its doctrine onto the world. Currently they are approximately 735 billionaires. Many of them doing good for the world while other acting out their “little Napoleon” complex at the expense of the planet.
“When the late Mr. Justice Brandeis coined the catch phrase of the “curse of bigness” some thirty years ago, he was convinced that bigness was not only socially destructive but economically and technologically unjustified. He saw its cause mainly in the greed or the drive for power of the “tycoon”.
Uncurbed individual ambition is, of course, one cause of bigness, and the bigness resulting from it is as antisocial and unjustified as Mr. Brandeis said it was. Also, it is not confined to business; as Mr. Brandeis toward the end of his life realized very clearly; “Little Napoleons” are just as likely to arise in labor unions or in the government or as in business. We may even say that in a free-enterprise system they are least likely to entrench themselves in business; for there we posses a brake in competition in the market which is lacking in other spheres. Incidentally the”tycoon” flourishes best in times of crisis and emergency, such as a war when there is undue emphasis on the kind of organizing ability and drive which is his typical asset. Hence today we have in our society quite a few ramshackle and jerry-built personal empires which truly are under the “curse of bigness” ‒ some the domain of war production “wizards”, some that of union bosses, some that of government overextended agencies. And it will be a painful process to bring these structures down to size.”